Digital Portfolios: Assessment in the iPad Classroom

digport_cover_400In 2015 I have been presenting this workshop around Australia and New Zealand receiving great feedback from those who
have attended.

At the beginning of October 2015 I launched the above title as the first in my series of Virtual PD publications. It is 90 Minutes of accredited Professional development containing video tutorials, step by step instructions on creating Digital Portfolios using Explain Everything, Book Creator, GarageBand, iMovie, Dropbox and QR Codes. All extra resources needed to complete the same examples are provided on a USB.

Below you can view the introduction video and read all about creating Digital Portfolios.

Being a primary/elementary teacher, the examples I use are straight from my classroom with real examples from my students. While the examples are music and at a primary/elementary grade level, having taught as a primary classroom teacher, I believe you can take the same structure and apply it to other subjects and grade levels too.

 

 

Digital Portfolios grew out of the following two needs:

The need in my music classroom to gather evidence of student work that I could assess after class and provide for parent viewing.

For gathering evidence I found in the lower grades that Book Creator was the perfect app for students to write, take photos, audio record and video record in, and now we can even insert the GarageBand songs we create as well. This gives myself as a music teacher a perfect way to gather evidence in a performance based subject. The evidence I gather I can view directly after the lesson and then later to assess for mid year and final year grades.

One of the best outcomes and feedback I’ve had from using Book Creator, is being able to provide parents with comprehensive evidence as to why their child has been given a certain grade.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The a request from a teacher to display my Year 6/7’s music projects at their IB Exhibition

To achieve this request I looked at the apps on the student iPad’s and found that Explain Everything allowed the students to display on 1 screen:

  • a pages document showing their rewritten song lyrics
  • a screenshot of their GarageBand arrangement
  • the GarageBand sound file to play their recording for people to listen to

IMG_0969What this iPad set up in Explain Everything also allowed the students to do was have an interactive display on their Exhibition stall, where parents could play and listen to the student’s song.

This project started me on a journey to implement Digital Portfolios for all my classes.

So what are Digital Portfolios? 

Digital portfolios, electronic portfolios or e-portfolios, are the latest trend in education. They are a way of collating or presenting digital work samples.

The positive outcomes of Digital Portfolios:

  • all work samples and files can be placed in one spot for assessment and viewing accessibility
  • students have different modes available to them for creating/collecting work samples; word processing, photos, images, audio & video recording
  • they provide the opportunity for assessment samples to include not only written samples but also visual performances of their work or skills in the subject areas that require demonstration of skills (such as The Arts, Physical Education and Science)
  • students with learning difficulties can engage better in their assessment opportunities due to the multiple options available to them
  • sharing files via email or apps such as dropbox and google drive means that not only can the teacher and school have access to them but parents can also have access
  • they provide students the opportunity to increase their technology skills in every subject area
  • they provide educators a wider scope for integration of general capabilities across the curriculum

Digital Portfolios have different uses in the classroom. They can be used for formative and summative assessment and to present work.

Formative Assessment Digital Portfolio

To collate and show the student’s progressive learning throughout the unit of work.

This is used to inform your teaching and planning for subsequent lessons.

Summative Assessment Digital Portfolio

A collection of work samples and files for students to be assessed by, at the end of a unit of work, against the learning outcome and curriculum used. This often results in a final mark for reporting.

Presenting Work to an Audience

Digital Portfolios are a great way of presenting work for display or sharing with parents.

Collating work into one app by sharing files into the one presentation allows for easy sharing of the entire project without the audience having to move between multiple apps.

The types of work samples you can gather are

  • written/word processed work
  • photos
  • screenshots
  • audio
  • video

There are many ways teachers and students can create digital Portfolios. Here are some apps that are available.

Collect/Collate Files

Class Management (LMS) Apps

Presentation Apps

When using the presentation type of apps in the classroom there are 3 different types of Digital Portfolios.

Individual Portfolios

In a 1 to 1 device or BYOD classroom, students create individual portfolios of their work. If you have shared devices, e.g. 1 between 2 or 3 students, it is still possible to do individual portfolios. Pair students up to work always on the same iPad. Some activities allow for working together on the same task, e.g. videoing each other. Alternately have 2 tasks on the go, i.e. one student on the iPad; one student performing another set task.

Group Portfolios

Use the portfolio method to share and record group work, e.g. group compositions.

Class Portfolios

Instead of students creating individual portfolios for a project, the teacher can create a class portfolio for a specific activity or a summative task with a sample of work from each student on each page/slide.

In My Classroom digital portfolios have transformed the way I gather evidence. They have also made assessment and reporting so much easier as I can review the work samples multiple times. Another positive outcome to gathering work samples in this way has been when parents have questioned their child’s semester grade. In this instance I have been able to email them the Digital Portfolio for them to view and my assessment along with it, the parents really appreciated it as it gave them an insight into their child’s development.

If you would like to learn more about how to create Digital Portfolios in your classroom go to my Music Room Tech page at Bushfire Press.

DSC_2173_round

 

Teach to transform!

Cheryl

Planning IB PYP in the Specialist / Single Subject Classroom

With no prior experience with teaching in an IB PYP school, starting out last year in my new school as the Classroom Music Teacher was quite a daunting experience.  I was truly blessed though to have great support in my Principal and other staff members who encouraged me to teach my music program from my previous school and try and link in to the class UOI’s where I could.

As I do in any situation I set about trying to impress as much as I could and link as often as I could to the classroom UOI which I thought would be the best PYP inquiry teaching.

What I found though was the skills/techniques I wanted to teach the children were not being done chronologically/developmentally as I tried to focus too much on the OUI taught in the classroom.  I was a little frustrated with this and didn’t understand how I could honour my discipline of teaching musicianship and authentically link to the PYP units being taught.

At the beginning of this year I went to the 3 day course “Making the PYP Happen in the Classroom”.  This was my first experience of IB PYP Professional Development and yes at the start I was completely overwhelmed by the whole thing.

While I learnt an incredible amount about how to teach using the PYP inquiry method my biggest question still wasn’t answered:

How can I teach classroom music in an IB school, using the inquiry methodologies to AUTHENTICALLY link to the class UOI and at the same time HONOUR my developmental curriculum.

This answer came 3 months later at an Arts Workshop for Single Subject Teachers presented by Theo Mandziy (Coordinator of Primary Single Subject Programme and Visual Arts teacher, Australian International School, Singapore)

At this workshop I realised I was focusing too much on the ‘UOI’ and not on the skill development of the children because I mistook linking with the classroom to be more important than the skill set I was teaching.

I was focusing on the topic/theme/idea eg using an indigenous song and then singing, dancing or playing instruments to it, rather than focusing on the skills & techniques and using my language during my lesson to link into the “concepts” being taught.

Theo presented 3 ways of planning:

  1. Specialist Driven UOI

This may be a wonderful concept & idea but Theo said it is very hard to pull off, especially if you are only part time.  This is where the Specialist subject teacher/s plan the UOI and the classroom teacher links in with it.

  1. Link with a class UOI

Specialist teachers don’t need to link with every UOI, as long as you find at least one UOI to link with in the year that is suffice.  To find this UOI look for authentic and purposeful links to the work in both classrooms, which allows you to honour the discipline that you are teaching.

You can write your own UOI that links with it or even take a line of inquiry from the classroom UOI.

The best way to link in is with the PYP Concepts being taught. Here the key is ensuring the language (key words/ideas) used in both class settings is the same or similar.

These links can be done before, during or after the class UOI is taught.  For example this year I have linked with the Year 6/7 OUI on Ancient Civilisations by teaching my Ancient Celtic Music unit before the class did theirs and this worked fine.

  1. Stand Alone OUI

Single subject teachers don’t need to teach all 6 transdisciplinary themes because it is unrealistic & not authentic to the disciplines being taught.  So while we need to teach 6 UOI over the whole year it may be more appropriate to teach from certain themes eg. “How we express ourselves”.

Our Stand Alone Units may also be taught throughout the whole year with no fixed start or end date.  For example you may use Musical Elements as your UOI.  Beat for example can be taught all year round as you refer to it along the way.

How have I now implemented this in my classroom?

I have since revamped my program have a look at my example overview from my Reception (5 yr olds) class:

IB PYP Single Subject Overview plannerview a pdf version here: IB PYP Single Subject Overview planner

I have 6 UOI, 4 year long ones & 2 that link to the classroom UOI.

To honour my discipline, I still use my developmental curriculum ‘The Interactive Music Room: A developmental classroom music program for interactive whiteboard, Book 1- beginning primary’ which I have adapted from ‘Music Room: A developmental classroom music program, Book 1 – Beginning Primary’.

However while this resource has been written with inquiry learning in mind, I always add other resources to this to enhance the UOI being taught and bring personal meaning to the students learning.

In the future I will post a blog on how I present and display this in my lessons.

I am and will be constantly looking at how I can better improve this.  And in no way do I believe I have conquered this task of a 100% answer to my initial question, on how to authentically plan a PYP UOI as a specialist/single subject teacher.  But I do believe I am now on the right path, or at least on the verge!

For me I have loved (and will continue to) the chase of aspiring to plan in the most effective and authentic way in a PYP school.  I am becoming a better teacher for it and can’t wait to see the results.

How has it changed me as a teacher?

The skills, techniques, activities, songs and instruments haven’t changed.  It has been the vocabulary I use when teaching which has changed as I focus more on the way I deliver information to the children to keep the lines of inquiry at the forefront of my lessons.

My questions to other PYP specialist/single subject teachers out there are: How do you plan?  What has worked for you in your school?  How do you link to the classroom UOI while staying true to your discipline?

Read part 2 in this series showing the overview of my 2014 planning.

DSC_2173_round

 

Teach to transform!

Cheryl